Do I get rid of my savings to get us out of debt

@suspenseful (40316)
Canada
November 14, 2009 10:57am CST
My husband has a retirement savings account with over $50,000 in it and i have a high interest account with a little under $7,000 in it. Now considering it took me years even to get that much, I have a problem. We have had to fix up our house because of his disablity,and during the fix up, we had to stay in a Motel. Then because he is going to be bedridden in a few months, he bought a tv and dvd for the bedroom. Also he has had to get a new head rest for his power wheel chair, a new cushion because of his als and having no muscles on his rear seat, plus other things, a new furnace because ours was heating the whole of Winnipeg, plus our microwave and dishwasher bit the dust. And there was paying the contractors, etc. to fix up the house and doing that, we used our joint account. Now we have to get the van fixed. So we still have the motel, the head rest for the wheelchair, the tv, dvd, and now there will be the microwave and dishwasher on credit next month. Now I am starting to pay the grocery bills, but do I take out all my savings and pay part of the credit cards? Or do I wait until he transfers money from his retirement savings account? We have an equity account, but do not want to take much out of it as it will mean trouble mortgage wise.
5 people like this
15 responses
• United States
14 Nov 09
You are in such a rough spot. I am in considerable debt myself. The only advice I can offer is DO NOT USE THE CREDIT CARDS! That will only suck you further into debt.
4 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
14 Nov 09
I use my credit card for groceries but I always pay it off and I do get points with it. I am talking about my husband's credit card. We do have a bank Mastercard and I do not want to use it until I have enough money to transfer to it. I just do not want to take money out of my savings to pay for it all and have nothing left to myself.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Nov 09
Is your husband coherent enough to have a financial discussion with you where you can lay out some plans?
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
14 Nov 09
Yes he is. He wants us to just use his pension money and the money in the joint account. He thinks I am also using that for groceries, but I am not telling him that I am using my money for that. He also plans to transfer some money from his retirement fund, but he knows that the taxes will take half off of it so does not want to do that now. And besides we have to get the van to take us to the credit union as to transfer his money from his retirement savings to the joint account we have to be at the credit union in person.
1 person likes this
@MJay101 (711)
14 Nov 09
Hi, I frequently post on a site called www.moneysavingexpert.com - they have a fantastic forum and it's all very friendly (if British). I recommend you check it out. In my opinion, it is almost always better to use savings to pay off debts than try to spin all the plates at once. Consider: how much does it cost to service the debt? (I.e. what interest rate are you paying?) Then consider: what is the benefit of savings? (What interest are you earning?) If the cost of servicing debt is higher than the income earned from savings - and I guess this is likely, with record low base rates and credit card companies hiking their own rates - then it really is a no-brainer! (Example: I have a student loan, with interest at RPI = 0% (currently); therefore, it is better for me to save any excess cash, as I can earn 3% (or thereabouts) in a savings account. If I had £5,000 on a credit card and was paying 12.9% interest, then I'd be far better advised to 'spend' savings in servicing debt.) When you've paid off all short-term, unsecured debts, the money you save in interest payments can be put aside for a rainy day. Hope this helps!
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
14 Nov 09
Yes but how long will it take me to recoup the money I spent payng off his debt? It will not just take me a year. More like ten years to get it back. That is the whole point. I have a smaller pension then my husband and I am already using about sixty percent for groceries, I save ten percent, and another five percent for my cell phone, and Christmas, magazines and emergency savings. So what you are telling me is to leave my husband's retirement fund alone and use all of the money I ever saved to get rid of the debt.
1 person likes this
@MJay101 (711)
14 Nov 09
I know it's a hard decision. The 'right answer' is whatever you feel is best... When I said 'savings', I meant 'liquid assets'. (I don't know what the rules are regarding pensions in the states; here, you're not allowed to access benefits as and when you like - there are limits on what can be drawn, and when.) Anything you can throw at the debt, basically. The difficulty is that if you have, say, £1,000 on a credit card, paying 20% interest (not uncommon, I hear), then you need to pay £200 per year to not go backwards. If you pay off the debt using £1,000 of savings, then yes - the £1,000 is gone. But you'll have an extra £200 per year in 'saved interest' alone, and no debt.
3 people like this
@KrauseHome (34982)
• United States
15 Nov 09
Personally I would be thinking about talking this one over with your husband while he is still able to think and decide what is Best for you. Since he is really sick you might need some of it later, so be prepared for that as well. All I can say is you are a Strong woman to be going thru this, and I know you will do what is Best for this time for sure.
3 people like this
• Philippines
15 Nov 09
it is true that our friend has so much to consider here. the sick husband will really need some money to go through his living days. the expenses must be pouring day in and day out. i can just imagine how it goes. i agree with you, krausehome, that suspenseful is a truly strong and amazing woman. there are only so few like her that i know. for you, suspenseful, i admire at how you deal with all the problems at hand. you must be going through some difficult times in your life. i hope that all these troubles will come to pass fast enough so you will be having better days again.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
16 Nov 09
We do need the equipment (except for the new TV and the dvd, but I guess he figured he needed them for when he became bedridden, but he is not that way yet) and we will get the money back at tax time, but that is not until April. I do not want to use up my savings because the interest rate is so low that unless it goes up and the economy gets better, I will lose out. I usually pay as much as I can on his credit card, and we do have an equity loan, but I do not like the latter.
@Hatley (164755)
• Garden Grove, California
14 Nov 09
hi suspensful it looks like to me that using some money from your husbands retirement account would be the most feasible now with the economy the way it is,after all what you are paying off is for his benefit as well as yours too.talk to your husband and see if he does not agree with this. why get in more debt on your credit card.do not do anything to jeopardize your mortgage.good luck and God bless suspenseful. hugs from hatley
3 people like this
@vandana7 (62279)
• India
14 Nov 09
This is the wisest counselling u can get. :) Trust me, thea will endorse this. She is from finance line. :)
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
16 Nov 09
I will talk to my husband about it. He thinks that we can pay it off using our joint account, but I am afraid we cannot. It does seem like the wisest idea. We will have to find out how much we owe and then get the money transferred over. I think it would be a good idea to transfer it to the joint savings first though.
• United States
14 Nov 09
Unless you have creditors trying to take you to court I would just keep paying them down. It won't do you any good to give your money to the debtors just so you can satisfy them. If you are paying them then that is good enough, don't deplete your savings unless its for actual needs.
3 people like this
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
15 Nov 09
this has really got o be up to you what you decide . I have to wait till I get my SS check before I can do any thing for I have nothing else to fall back on!
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
16 Nov 09
My husband did not think we were in that much debt, but then he remembered the head rest for the wheelchair. The trouble is that here, if someone outside and make it, it is no longer free. It used to be that a lot of the additions for the wheelchair, like the cushions, back rest, etc. were included because only SMD (that supplies the wheelchairs on loan for disabled people) made them, but as soon as some company on the outside started to do so, they no longer made them and now we have to pay for them. The only reason the wheelchairs, and big stuff are on loan is because they cost thousands of dollars and no one has that much money especially if they are disabled. The only thing is that we get the money back at tax time, but that is not until April.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
19 Nov 09
I see. but still up to you how you do . as in the end you will do what you have to do.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
22 Nov 09
He says that he will pay it off out of his retirement money in January, but we still have to pay the interest. I could pay off most of Sears bill for the dishwasher and microwave, but I checked what I had and I cannot pay it all off, now that I am buying the groceries. I have already cut down on my savings and with the low interest rate, I will not be able to get my account back to what it used to be. At least we have a couple of weeks to go before the Sears bill becomes due, so I can see what I can do in the meantime.
@ElicBxn (60762)
• United States
14 Nov 09
try to get him to get the money transferred - I know its hard, but you really need to get him on the ball - after some of that stuff is his alone after all
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
14 Nov 09
I am trying, but he just wants to transfer the money for good stuff. Like he took money from the retirement fund for buying the van, but he did not take any out for the motel bill when the house was being renovated, the furnace, the stuff for his health -like wheelchair cushions, improvements that are not free, etc. tv, dvds, etc. That came out of equity or the joint account. So he is very particular in what he wants transferred. And he has already got me to put part of my pension into the joint account.
2 people like this
@ElicBxn (60762)
• United States
14 Nov 09
stuff for him is his stuff and he needs to pay for it
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
16 Nov 09
Except if he pays for it, it is also the money that we need to live on. So it sort of affects me and if the money is transferred from the retirement savings fund that means less for me to live on when he is gone.
1 person likes this
@cher913 (25893)
• Canada
14 Nov 09
well it seems to be a catch 22 situation. we are in the same boat but we cannot touch our savings due to the rrsp requirements. now hubby is out of a job and who knows what will happen.
2 people like this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
14 Nov 09
Bi cher - I am sorry that your husband is still without a job and pray that he gets one soon. Can you tell me please what is meant by rrsp requirements? Many thanks
2 people like this
@checkmail (2042)
• India
15 Nov 09
Hello suspenseful this is checkmail and am really sorry for your current situation, hope will cope out of it soon.Yeah you can put in your savings to settle the debts, if its ever increasing at an high rate.If the debt is just a little and the interest over it is also normal than would suggest some investment before settling the debt.You can calculate the overall earns and spends and then decide whether to use savings for invest further or setle the debts.But according to me our life must not be under pressure.
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
22 Nov 09
We were planning to get a new fridge later on next year after this was all paid up. I was also thinking of paying for the microwave and dishwasher out of my mad money, but if something comes up, we will be stuck, or at least I will and I do not want to touch any of my high interest savings account. I am also paying for the groceries but my husband does not know it yet.
@Thoroughrob (11756)
• United States
14 Nov 09
It sounds like you are in bit of a mess. I would sit down and really concentrate on what the best thing would be. I wish you the best.
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
16 Nov 09
I am trying to do the grocery shopping out of my own pension, but that will mean I will be unable to save as much. However if I transfer the savings to my no tax saving account, that will help a bit as I will have less taxes to pay, not that pay any anyway, but it will affect our income. We could transfer the money from the retirement savings of my husband but then we would only get fifty percent. I do not want to use my high interest savings as I do need them. But no matter what method we use, unless we get a wind fall, we are stuck and none of the debt was for things we did not need.
• United States
14 Nov 09
I am not as good hearted and kind as you are therefore IMO any and all bills that are for items to make his life more comfortable should come out of his finances!
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
14 Nov 09
That is what I think. I will pay for the groceries and I might pay for the microwave and the dishwasher out of my money (I do have some savings that are not high interest and were for that purpose - things for the house that I want - such as Cuisinarts, etc.) but I do not want to touch the high interest savings as the interest rate is so low now that even though I may live to be in my 90s, I would be unable to recoup the money if I paid the bills with that.
1 person likes this
@callarse1 (4793)
• United States
6 Dec 09
Could you list all your income and all your expenses? I think I could give you better advice. I'd suggest charging the items and then using your monthly retirement check to pay it off. Or better off, use your home equity and you can write the interest off on your taxes (at least in USA, I'm not sure about Canada). Is it possible to use your savings for some of your bills?
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
6 Dec 09
I make $680, and my husband over$2000. I already pay for the groceries, out of choice because then I can decide what we need since I do the cooking. If we get extra money like rebates it sort of gets distributed around. I do have $4000 in savings and he has ten times that much and it took me longer to get mine up to that level. So unless I live to over 100, I will not be able to recoup it. So I do not want to get rid of my savings. I have cut down on them, but even that is a bit hard. We are waiting for another rebate and hope that will help somewhat. Here in Canada we cannot use the interest on taxes and we get credit not actual income, but my husband says he is going to put money from his retirement fund on the bills come January.
1 person likes this
@callarse1 (4793)
• United States
7 Dec 09
This is income from your retirement, right? That's great! Is it possible for him to use some of his check each month to pay for the repairs? Whatever could not be paid, is is possible for him to pay it out of his savings?
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
9 Dec 09
Ir should be. He is going to transfer money out of the retirement fund to get rid of all our outstanding debt, but it is near Christmas and what would happen in the meantime. It is just that I do not want to go broke to even pay for a little thing. I was in debt before and it took me a long time to get out of it.
1 person likes this
@tigerdragon (4297)
• Philippines
19 Nov 09
uh, i think a bit of lifestyle change would do a lot of help. can you refrain from spending something that you can let go for the moment while you are staying temporarily on a motel? is the microwave necessary? or even the dvd player? i think there a lot of ways to go around these things, you could have simply got a stove to cook or heat up food. settle for a tv than get a player because it will incur another expense of renting out videos. these little savings would help you get backk on your feet again. just a suggestion.
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
20 Nov 09
We are already back in our house but we still have to pay for the things. I did not order the dvd or the tv, my husband did. It was that my husband has Lou Gehrig's disease and now we had to get a motorized wheelchair but because he had no muscles in his seat, we needed a better cushion, his back hurt, he needed a new back rest because the motorized wheelchair (that the province pays for) was mainly designed for people on strokes. We already have the tv, the dvd player, we had to get a handicapped van, we needed the furnace replaced - as well as the microwave and the dishwasher (we bought everything together over ten to fifteen years ago 0 not sure , so I would not be surprised that the stove and the refrigerator will soon go.( Now the fact is that i did not persuade my husband that we needed a new tv and a dvd player and that this was his idea. We had needed a dishwasher and a microwave for sometime and had we been able to stay at our son's house or a friend's who had wheelchair access, we would not have had to stay at a motel. I also think if our doctor had gotten the follow up tests done, my husband would have gotten a reclining power wheelchair without the need to adapting a regular motorized wheelchair that is designed for people who are obese and have strokes.
• India
15 Nov 09
you are in deep say.just pray to god that everyhtings gets allright.I cant advice you for this situation.because I dont know what to say.but i will watch others anwers as i may need it in my future if at all i get into troule like you.wish you goodluck
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
16 Nov 09
I am trying to find out how to get rid of the debt - I know we will get the money back in income tax in April - but I do not want to use my high interest savings. Even using my regular savings will not help. And what if something else comes up? That is what worries me? Like we had to get the handicapped van because we cannot depend on Handitransit (they need to know long an appontment is because if we are not there, they leave.) and now that van did not pass the safety check and now we have to get it fixed up. Even at cost, that will cost a pretty penny.
• Philippines
15 Nov 09
that's really a load of financial problem there. it is good that you and your husband has sufficient money to finance them all. if you find it easy for you to pay part of those credit card payments using your savings, then go ahead, suspenseful. however, if you believe that you shall be so disadvantaged doing so, then, you might as well wait for that money transfer from your husband's retirement savings account. i believe that at this juncture, it will have to be you to decide on what's best to do. good luck, my friend and have a good day.